Writing Help: Documentation

Along with proper sentence structure and a sound thesis, citing sources is essential to completing a writing assignment. We've outlined some documentation tips and given you several examples to follow.

Tips for common challenges

  • Remember that for MLA documentation, when citing sources in your essay, you use parenthetical documentation. After citing a passage from someone else’s work, note the author and page number in parentheses. Ex. The article states, “English is difficult.” (Johns 6). If you’ve used an electronic source, then note the author’s name in parentheses without the page number. “It is hard to speak it correctly” (Johns).
  • For APA documentation, when citing sources in your essay, use parenthetical documentation. After citing the passage, note the author, comma, and year of publication. Ex. “Childhood obesity is a complex issue (Johns, 2004).
  • When writing about literature, or about poems, plays, movies, or song lyrics, use present tense verbs.
  • Before citing passages from stories, poems, or plays in your essay, remember to build context. 
  • For strong samples of student essays, review the links below: